Recently, voice actor Zach Aguilar had a Reddit AMA where he responded to fan questions, flaunted his Twitch channel, expressed his preferred tastes of Dub and Sub anime, talked about his favorite voice roles, and winning the contest that changed both his life and career.
On how he got into voice acting
I won a voice acting competition through Bang Zoom Entertainment at Anime Expo in 2014, I was 16 years old at the time. I’d been acting most of my life and took a bunch of voice-over classes before trying out.
On the best thing that a director can do for you when you’re in the booth.
I would say just knowing the show and the characters really well and being able to direct the actor in a way that stays true to the character. Also, I love it when the directors collaborate with me so I can have a little say in how I say certain lines!
On his favorite voice acting role in an Anime.
I love them all honestly. Every single one is so different that it’s hard to choose.
On when he first got into the role of playing Tanjiro from “Demon Slayer” before episode 19 cemented its popularity.
Yes, I can’t entirely remember what show the episode was on in the sub when I heard the news but it was definitely before episode 19. I freaked out and was so excited. Mostly because I was watching the show in the sub as it was releasing. It’s always a great feeling to work on something you’re a fan of.
On the difference between recording for games & anime, along with the challenges they have.
I think anime is hard in the fact that it’s extremely technical trying to match to lip flaps. I’ve preferred working on games recently because it allows me to give the performance I want to give without worrying about timing.
On the difference between dubbing for an original American cartoon and English dub anime.
The difference between working on an anime and a cartoon is that you don’t have to match lip flaps while recording a cartoon. You also usually record with the rest of the cast, like 5 actors in one booth each with a microphone playing off each other. This is actually how the Japanese VA’s record anime, very similar to how western cartoons are recorded. Unfortunately, we record individually when dubbing shows since the process is so technical and it’s sometimes hard to completely connect with the other actors in the show because they aren’t there while you’re recording. Most anime work is Non-Union and most cartoon work is Union. That could be why you don’t see a lot of actors working in both.
On the weirdest role, he was offered in the position of voicing acting.
Weirdest? Probably Koichi from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure HAHA. A lot of stuff happens in Jojo’s so every session was really obscure but super fun to record.
On how different working at home is compared to working in the studio.
I have a home recording studio and it’s nice to work out of. I don’t have to spend hours driving through LA HAHA. I still miss seeing all my friends and cracking jokes in the studio though. I’m surprisingly still pretty busy! We’ve been doing a lot of at-home recording. I invested in a home studio around when I started doing voice over work since I was recording a lot of commercials.
On whether or not he plays the videogames watches the anime he’s in.
It’s so freakin humbling to be a part of the world of voice acting. It’s something I was interested in pursuing since I was 12. I try my best to watch most of the anime I’m in but sometimes it’s hard to keep up! I do however stream some games that I’ve done on my Twitch channel.
On getting into the mood for recording lines, especially high intense or emotionally charged ones.
It’s tough, especially since the recorded process moves so quickly. You have like a few seconds to adjust your emotion, think about how you’re going to read the line, and then worry about it matching the flap for timing.
I usually try to feel out the character as much as I can and put myself in their shoes. It sounds really simple but it works for me to get into the right mindset.
On training his voice to do different voices and noises.
Someone made fun of my high pitched voice on Xbox live when I was 12. After that, I decided to go on a perilous journey to make my voice deeper. I fought blistering winds and scorching deserts while on my quest. Then one day a dragon appeared to me and gave me “the power”. After that, I returned home a hero with the ability to shapeshift my vocal cords. (check out singing training) 🙂
And finally On giving advice to aspiring voice actors.
Take a bunch of acting classes, practice online, make a demo and submit it to casting directors and studios. There’s a bunch of info online about the topic. I’d recommend checking out iwanttobeavoiceactor.com
Everyone has a different path, mine just so happened to be taking a bunch of classes and winning a competition. Also, I highly recommend taking the Adventures in Voice Acting classes that are held at Bang Zoom with various directors in the industry.
I watch both equally. I will say that it’s hard to put on a subbed anime and multitask so I highly prefer dubs when I’m doing 2 things at once.
Good luck on your journey, keep at it!